Don't Kill Our Soldiers, Celebrate Them! By Frank Ijege

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I was a strong opponent of our army. I mocked and laughed at them because of their inability to contain the scourge of boko haram that has ravaged and continues to ravage our country. An instance was the tactical maneuvering to Cameroon by some soldiers when the heat became too much for them to bear. However, on a close look I discovered that I was unnecessarily being unfair to these gallant fighters who have left comfort to ensure there is peace in our troubled country.
 
Majority of these soldiers and all those involved in the fight against boko haram seems to have been sentenced to death in the hands of these insurgents. Otherwise, how would one explain giving soldiers obsolete and antiquated weapons to use in check mating and fighting a brutal set of people from the pit of hell with more sophisticated and an advanced armory? Just like one cannot use an idea of yesterday to solve an issue today, we cannot use the weapons we used to prosecute the civil war to curb the insurgency of today.
 
To make matters worse, refusing to die in the hands of these insurgents is construed as disobedience, thus earning one death in the hands of the authority. This we have seen through the court martial trial of several soldiers who for one reason or the other, were bold enough to demand for a better equipment in order to fight, or were courageous to engage in tactical maneuver. This undermines our determination to the war. Is deciding to join the army agreeing to die like a chicken? 
 
These soldiers have family who rely and depend on them. Judging from the experiences of their colleagues, especially how their families have been neglected, abandoned and even thrown out of the barracks, none of them would want to die when they are not sure of what awaits their families after their (in) glorious death in active service. 
 
In other countries of the world, fallen soldiers are celebrated and given a state burial. But here, we look at them with scorn and disdain as if being a soldier means your life is worthless. No wonder we have a shortage of military personnel. The republic of Cameroon which is faced with the boko haram menace is recruiting twenty thousand soldiers to fight it, while we are here sacking, imprisoning and sentencing the few we have to death. It tells the kind of commitment we have towards fighting the war against insurgency.
 
To succeed in this war against insurgency and terrorism, we must increase the morale of our gallant soldiers. This we can do by providing them with sophisticated equipments, one that can match the insurgents and pardoning all those who we have harshly sentenced either to death, terms or imprisonment and all those we have summarily dismissed from service. We must also assure them that their families would be adequately catered for, in the event they are killed and that their efforts will not go unappreciated. Soldiers and all those who have willingly offered to risk their lives to ensure that the rest of us are safe and secured, should be praised, encouraged and celebrated. Arresting them (like we did to the local hunters), subjecting them to court martial is not the best way to encourage them. In fact, it makes a mockery of our commitment towards the fight against insurgency. 
 
May God grant us a solution to this problem, Amen.
 
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